I’d like to take you through an overview of the proposed changes in the financial landscape, in light of the recent Federal Election result. The changes, if implemented, will affect elements of social security support and support for home buyers, as well as the age at which you can make a downsizer contribution to your super.
Superannuation Downsizer Contribution
So, let’s begin with the super changes. The age at which you can make a downsizer contribution is already legislated to be reduced from 65 to 60 from 1 July 2022. However, the Government has now proposed to further reduce the age to 55 from the same date.
If eligible, downsizer contributions allow you to contribute proceeds of the sale of your home to your superannuation. Downsizer contributions do not have a total super balance limit or an upper age limit, but you’ll need to have reached the lower age limit by the time you contribute. Your contribution must also be made within 90 days of the settlement of your sale.
Support for Homebuyers
If you’re only at the beginning of your home buying journey, you’ll no doubt be more interested in the proposed Help to Buy scheme.
Although a commencement date has not yet been announced, the Government has proposed to support up to 10,000 eligible first-time buyers each year, in this shared equity scheme. This support would be in the form of either 40% of the purchase price of a new home, or up to 30% for an existing home.
To be eligible you will need to be an Australian citizen, at least 18 years old and earning less than $90,000 per year (or $120,000 for couples). You must not already own any property or land anywhere in the world. You must live in the purchased property as the main resident and must pay all the associated purchase costs and ongoing property costs.
You will need at least a 2% deposit for the initial purchase, but it is proposed that you will then be able to purchase additional interests in the property from the Government. You would not be required to pay rent to the Government for its share in the property. However, it is also proposed that if your income exceeds the annual cap for two consecutive years you will be required to repay either part or all of the Government’s contribution to your purchase.
If implemented, this will run alongside the similar Regional First Home Buyer Support Scheme, which is proposed to commence in January 2023.
Regional First Home Buyer Support Scheme
This scheme, also available for up to 10,000 Australian citizen first-time buyers per year, will guarantee up to 15% of the purchase price of a property in regional Australia.
To be eligible for this scheme you must live outside of a capital city and have been living in that region for at least 12 months. You must be over 18, live in the property purchased, and have taxable income of up to $125,000 per year (or $200,000 for couples).
Social Security Measures
There are also updates regarding the following social security measures:
- Freezing of deeming rates
- Increased eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
- Extended exemption on home sale proceeds
The Government will freeze deeming rates until 2024 for those receiving an income-tested pension or allowance. These deeming rates are based on the amount of financial investments you hold and will remain at 0.25% for the first $53,600 for a single person, or the first $89,000 for couples, and remain at 2.25% for amounts above these respective figures.
Regarding the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, the eligibility threshold has been proposed to increase from 1 July 2022. The CSHC may be available to you if you have reached your Age Pension age, but don’t qualify for the Age Pension due to the income and/or asset tests.
The current thresholds are $57,761 for a single person, $92,416 for a couple and $115,522 for an illness-separated couple. The proposed new thresholds are $90,000 for a single person, $144,000 for a couple and $180,000 for an illness-separated couple.
Finally, concerning the exemption on home sale proceeds for those in receipt of social security who sell their primary residence, the Government has proposed to extend the current 12-month exemption period by an additional 12 months. If approved, this will come into effect from 1 January 2023.
This assets test exemption applies to a portion of proceeds from the sale that are intended to be used to purchase, build or renovate a new primary residence.
It is important to remember that much of what is mentioned above is proposed and that final details will be subject to change before they are legislated, if legislated at all. Details are correct as of May 2022.
Baldwin Financial Services is based in the northeastern suburbs of Adelaide.
Contact us to find out how we may be able to help you.